Woodland carries PGA lead into third round

Writing from Town and Country, Missouri

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Anyone in the fairway at Bellerive Country Club when the second round of the 100th PGA Championship resumed had a great chance at a birdie.

Anyone in the rough risked settling for bogey, so thick and juicy was the high grass.

That’s why nobody left on the course Friday when thunderstorms brought proceedings to a halt at 3:33 p.m. made a run at leader Gary Woodland, who was back at his hotel, pleased to be at 10-under 130 when the storm hit, dropping .45 inches of rain on an already mushy course.

Rickie Fowler came closest, playing his last eight holes in 1 under to come in with a 3-under 67 for 8-under 132 and a tie for third entering the afternoon’s third round. He made two birdies and one bogey along the way, with a birdie on the par-5 17th getting him to 8-under on a windless morning where the surface conditions were vexing.

“The golf ball being wet makes it harder to control with the rain from yesterday and the dew,” Fowler said.

Between Woodland and Fowler is Kevin Kisner, whose 64 for 131 was registered Friday morning. Double U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka scored a PGA record-tying 63 on Friday to move into third at 8-under 132, which Fowler matched.

Four players are tied at 7-under 133: world No. 1 Dustin Johnson (second-round 66), Charl Schwartzel (63), Illinois graduate Thomas Pieters (66) and Shane Lowry, who finished off his 64 in the morning.

Tony Finau likely boosted his standing in the eyes of U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk with the 4-under 66 he completed in the morning. Finau, who parred only one of his first 11 holes, settled down and parred three of his last seven holes to go with three more birdies and a bogey. Furyk played with Finau, who scored 74 on Thursday. The second-round rebound put Finau at even-par 140, which made the cut on the number, a record low for a PGA by one stroke. Eighty players advanced to the final 36 holes.

Bryson DeChambeau missed a four-foot putt on his last hole and missed the cut by a stroke. He came into the week ninth in the Ryder Cup standings, the first non-automatic spot. Furyk may be less interested in DeChambeau as a result.

Also missing by one: Sergio Garcia, Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III and Padraig Harrington. Wheaton native Kevin Streelman missed by two despite a second round par 70, while Masters champion Patrick Reed and John Daly missed by three. Phil Mickelson added a 71 to his opening 73, his 4-over 144 four strokes more than what was necessary, while Bubba Watson’s 8-over 78 was punctuated by a pair of double-bogeys and sent him packing. HaoTong Li withdrew with a wrist injury after the 11th hole. He played his last three holes in 4-over.

Tim Cronin

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